For this week’s cover story, “Paper Cuts,” I spoke to many people about The Times-Picayune’s upcoming transition to thrice-weekly publishing and a concentration on online news gathering.
One of the people to whom I spoke was David Carr, who writes about media, business and culture for The New York Times — and who originally broke the story about the New Orleans paper’s transition. Carr is a fun interview — he refers to newspapering as “putting the white paper out to get the green paper back” — and much of what he said didn’t make the final article. So here’s some extra Carr on the Picayune situation.
• On the prospect of The Times-Picayune going completely online and entirely paperless in a few years:
“You’re [New Orleans] not really ringed by a great retail gold mine that would make for a great Sunday product. I don’t think that Newhouse has committed to print. The whole industry is going to a paperless business. … I would not be surprised to see them eliminate the print product.”
• On NOLA.com becoming the primary mode of Advance's news distribution:
“If you look at their web product broadly — that turns out to be a significant error. When it comes to [newspaper/website] integration, which they’re putting on a forced march, they have a very long way to go, with a staff and a technology that is probably not on par with a lot of American newspapers in digital terms. They can talk all they want about the traffic on the New Orleans site. What does it mean if you can’t search what you have?”
In homegrown goods, designers Yvonne LaFleur and Tracy Thomson have donated to the cause, and there are Muses shoes galore. Perhaps coolest of all, though, is Times-Picayune food editor Judy Walker's handmade quilt (pictured) made of T-shirts, many of which feature the paper's most famous front pages.
Tickets to the Sept. 29 benefit, "Black, White and Red All Over," are $30. The night will feature entertainment by David Torkanowsky, Charmaine Neville, The Pfister Sisters and John Rankin, among others, and food will be provided by several area restaurants. There will also be a silent auction that night, but bidding is already open on the online auction.
In other news, it seems that 60 Minutes is going ahead with a segment about the paper's move to digital. Correspondent Morley Safer is in town this week, and he's interviewed Mayor Mitch Landrieu and T-P editor Jim Amoss, along with several community leaders. (Landrieu even tweeted a picture.) The segment is scheduled to air Sept. 30 — the last day for the fired employees.
"We definitely need more than 1,000," he told Gambit this morning. "I'd like to get 20,000. But we're looking at 5,000 to 10,000, and I think that’s easily obtainable based on the response we got yesterday."
The Advocate's push into the New Orleans market, of course, is in response to The Times-Picayune's scaling back to thrice-weekly publication as of Oct. 1, concentrating its news gathering online at NOLA.com under the name NOLA Media Group.
"We still believe in the printed newspaper every day," Manship said. "We don’t doubt the importance of digital — we have a website and an app; we even have an e-edition, so we feel like we are there. We just felt like the people of New Orleans were very strong toward their reading of the Picayune seven days a week. So we thought we’d step in and fill the void."
Under the cut: Manship discusses distribution, advertisers, and office space for The Advocate's new New Orleans bureau ...
Good Afternoon, as the Publisher of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, my family has been providing a daily newspaper to the citizens of Louisiana since the early 1900s. In fact, like the newspaper in New Orleans, The Advocate’s origins date back 170 years to 1842. And like New Orleanians, the citizens of Baton Rouge demand quality journalism and are accustomed to receiving it in the form of a daily newspaper. We are proud to meet that demand.
We recognize that the way people get their news is changing. And we will keep up with these changes by delivering news in all the different formats our subscribers use, including print. As trends evolve, The Advocate will continue to deliver a daily, printed newspaper to our subscribers.
Changes in the way The Times-Picayune gathers and reports news have revealed that there is a demand for a daily newspaper in New Orleans that will not be met by any New Orleans publications, beginning October 1, 2012. This would end a 175-year tradition of delivering a daily newspaper to New Orleanians and make New Orleans the largest city in the U.S. without a daily printed paper. At The Advocate, we think New Orleans and its citizens deserve a quality newspaper printed each and every day, and we intend to provide one.
Good news, New Orleans!
The Advocate New Orleans Edition will be available October 1st. Call 504-529-0522 for a special introductory rate!
More under the jump, including the announcement of a New Orleans bureau chief for The Advocate ...
Back in June, we reported the new NOLA Media Group was eying space in One Canal Place, the office tower connected to the Shops at Canal Place:
Some employees who have been invited to remain with the company have been told those offices may be in the One Canal Place Office Tower, the 32-story office building with The Shops at Canal Place on its three lowest floors.
While navigating the parking garage at One Canal Place, exiting into downtown traffic and trying to reach freeway on-ramps would seem to be more difficult than getting out of the more centrally-located 3800 Howard location, reporters and photographers have been told they will spend most of their time out of the office and "in the field," communicating with the main office via laptops and mobile devices.
NOLA Media Group president and publisher Ricky Mathews denied that report at the time ("We’re investing heavily in downtown space — you’ll see that soon — there was a story in Gambit this morning, they got it wrong, but when we do announce what we’re doing, you’re going to be very impressed"), but the company has now made it official with a story that carried no byline either in today's Times-Picayune or on NOLA.com:
NOLA Media Group has leased 27,000 square feet on the top two floors of the Canal Place office tower in downtown New Orleans to house the new media company once renovations are complete in December, company officials announced Thursday. The Canal Place complex also includes the Shops at Canal Place and the Westin Hotel.
The renovated space will take up the entire 32nd floor and a portion of the 31st floor. The news-gathering operation, along with sales, digital solutions, marketing and other administrative functions, will be housed at the new offices, accommodating more than 140 employees, said NOLA Media Group president and publisher Ricky Mathews.
Seems like a story ripe for comment — but several NOLA.com commenters emailed Gambit overnight and this morning saying their comments have been removed from NOLA.com. A couple of screenshots of the comments have been preserved below the jump — and you're welcome to leave your own here.
As a marketing officer and online media buyer for American Apparel, Ryan Holiday has bought millions of dollars in advertising. But he has gained a reputation for the hoaxes and pranks (more on media deceptions) that gained free publicity for his company (as well as Tucker Max, the author/professional lout he’s advised on media strategies). There’s a back story on the animus between the Gawker blogs and American Apparel owner Dov Charney, but when Holiday wanted some free advertising, he turned to the Gawker blog Jezebel.
Posing as an employee willing to leak company materials, he offered photos from American Apparel photo shoots that he said were banned from advertising in publications. Thinking they had a scoop, Jezebel staff posted the photos and invited its female, predominantly feminist readership to be outraged. Many were. But at the end of the day, Holiday succeeded in getting the blog to drive readers to view otherwise unused photos. Jezebel benefitted from the traffic the post drew regardless of whether staff checked out the source or not. American Apparel got a lot of exposure without having to pay for it in the form of advertising.
It seems relatively harmless, but Holiday had caught on to how corruptible journalism, particularly blogs and online journalism, can be. To prove his point, he went on the website Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and responded to queries as a source on various topics. He was soon quoted in a New York Times piece about collecting vinyl records (which he doesn’t do), on a website about boatcare, in CBS in a story about embarrassing office stories, etc. He appeared in many news stories and shared bogus information on things he knew little or nothing about. His point: reporters never sought to verify his identity or anything about his credibility as a source. What does he have to say about his attempts to expose the media’s practices:
“People are lucky my intentions are to sell T-shirts,” he says. He finds placing bogus information on blogs and in major publications and broadcasts alarmingly easy.
Holiday moved to New Orleans 15 months ago to write Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. It’s actually a critique of the what’s wrong with journalism and the problems intrinsic to the transformation to the Internet driving news coverage. The book was released two weeks ago, and he signs copies at Octavia Books today at 6 p.m. His thoughts on the decline of The Times-Picayune after the jump.
The company made the announcement tonight after a day that saw Saints owner Tom Benson make public his desire to buy the paper — and after the NOLA Media Group took a public shellacking from Sen. David Vitter.
According to NOLA.com, the Saints Monday editions will be delivered free to subscribers, or be available for 75 cents in newsboxes. It will be a tabloid, like the paper's Lagniappe section, rather than a broadsheet.
Louisiana's junior senator went on to boast that he personally has "far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise." OH SNAP.
950 Fingerboard Rd.
Staten Island, NY 10305
Dear Steven Newhouse:
In light of your decision to only print the Times-Picayune three times per week, and the multiple credible buyer groups that I know want to buy the paper and continue it as a daily, I urge you to enter into serious negotiations with them. Then I urge you to sell.
Maybe you truly believe that your new model for the Times-Picayune will serve the region well. I do not. More importantly, no citizen of the region whom I've spoken to about this does. And I literally mean no one. This includes everyone at the Times-Picayune itself that I've spoken to.
First, no digital platform, no matter how good, can completely replace a printed daily in substance, use, and significance to the community. This is particularly true in large, important segments of the population.
Second, you have a terribly inadequate digital platform which has actually gotten worse since your announcement. The new format has been universally panned (and I agree). And this is reflected in the numbers. As a single member of our Congressional delegation, I actually have far more Facebook followers than your whole enterprise.
Third, from a pure business perspective, you're about to get smoked. The Advocate and others are moving in to fill the void you are creating. And TP subscribers, including me, will be eager to cheer them on by trading our subscriptions.
For all of these reasons, do the right thing. Sell.
United States Senate
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